A theory of why there continues to be a discussion of poetry’s/art’s role in society.
I don’t think the role of art in society is worth debating. It’s here, a continuous part of society already. Rather I think we each of us should look to the role we give it in our own lives.
Ask yourself: Do I think art should be political or apolitical?
If you answered political, chances are you are proactively on the side of the discontented/marginalized/stigmatized. Perhaps you consider yourself one of the discontented, or cannot stand to see others being mistreated, or have crunched the numbers and that helping the “lowest of the low” classes ultimately benefits all of us. Whatever your reason/motivation, you have a hunger for change that requires sustenance from whatever source will give it.
If you answered apolitical, you may say that you side with the discontented (you may even go so far as to identify as one of the discontented), but you are ultimately unmotivated at this time to take or call for action. You do not see any immediate need for change in the corner of the world you’ve carved out for yourself, and so you do not feel that same hunger for change demanding sustenance.
This is of course a general theory composed of general statements. We all of us hunger for change at different times in different ways to varying degrees. It’s just that the hunger for systemic changes in the whole of one’s society tend to have the largest stomach growls.
So after asking yourself the above question it’s worth asking: How do I meet the people who disagree with me to meet me halfway? Not so that one of us may change the other’s mind, but so that we may all work together to all get what we need.
Also published on Medium.